Not the Man I Married

This may be the title of a new book of poems I’m planning to put together. When I sent the final proof of How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver to the publisher, a fellow writer offered to take a look at it, hoping that a second pair of eyes would give it a fresh perspective. After reading my manuscript, she suggested that the first part containing poems about me and Bill would work as a separate book. This was back in November of 2011. Since then, I’ve been mulling this idea over, and I think it might have some merit.

It’ll be my summer project. Like I did with my other books, I’ll try to find a traditional publisher first. A lot of publishers accept poetry manuscripts with a minimum of forty to fifty pages, and I only have at least thirty-five poems about me and Bill so I may have to write some more. I’ve already written two or three more since the publication of my second book. Eventually, Bill will say, “Honey, why don’t you just go ahead and self-publish it? It’ll be your Christmas present.”

Now, here’s another poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. This one reflects the changes that have come about as a result of Bill’s stroke, which not only affected the left side of his body but also his speech. He can no longer sing, and his speaking voice is different. When he called me on a Saturday night soon after he had the stroke, I almost hung up on him because I thought he was a drunk in a bar calling a wrong number. When he calls someone on the phone he hasn’t talked to in a while, I have to remind him to tell that person who he is because his voice may not be recognized. He is also unable to cook, clean, do laundry, play cards, and engage in other activities as he used to do. Despite the adaptive equipment we have in our home to help me care for him, our lives aren’t the same as they were before the stroke. He’s not the man I married, but I still love him, hence the title of the new book.

Dependent

I know what to do–

I don’t know what to do.

The wheelchair, vertical bars, gait belt

offer assistance but can’t bring him back.

He’s not the man I married–

he’s still the man I love.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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4 thoughts on “Not the Man I Married

    • Hi Glenda, this poem is included in my book, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver so technically, it's been published. I believe I sent it to a few magazines before I decided to include it in my book, but there were no takers. Thank you for your comment.

  1. All of us will go through times when we're forever changed. Strokes and other debilitating illnesses stalk us and attack when we least expect them. I hope your books and poems will wake people from their illusion of safety. We're only an instant away from a disability.

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